Friday, January 14, 2005

Virtual Scatalogia

As a writer, I'm constantly at odds with my politics.  For example, I am for full inclusion and legal recognition of GLBT couples and individuals in society.  Writing about healthy, well-adjusted and happy individuals doesn't make for satisfying fiction however.  It is also true that mental illness is no respector of political correctness.  See the story of the Baylor seminary student sued for allegedly sending obscene e-mails to his former instructors and administrators.  This virtual poison pen behavior (assuming it's true) is the kind of scatologia formerly more common over the phone or in the mail box.  Joyce Carol Oates in her magnificent novel The Mysteries of Winterthurn includes a scene of mailed scatalogia (perpetrated by either the local minister, Reverend Bunting, or his wife).  This kind of passive-aggressive underhanded, anonymous method of expressing anger or lust is maladaptive.  E-mail has simply made it easier.  Including an obscene image as part of the e-mail can be accomplished by only a couple of clicks.  Although I do not wish to give right wing nutballs any more ammunition than they already have, I cannot seem to write gay characters who are well-adjusted.  This is the purpose of fiction: To tell stories.  Novels that are polemical tracts are BORING and untrue.  Thus I write about the maladapted, the anxious, the shame and fear based individuals we've all met in our lives for whom being gay is not all rose petals on freshly laundered sheets--because that is the way things sometimes are, not because I feel that's the way things ought to be.

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